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Symposium

Michael Riley: sights unseen
Imants Tillers: one world many visions

Saturday 23 September 9am–5pm 2006

 

This one-day symposium brings together artists, curators, art critics, film-makers and architects to discuss diverse aspects of the art of Michael Riley and Imants Tillers.

 

Speakers

detail: Imants Tillers 'Kangaroo Blank' 1988, oil, oilstick, synthetic polymer paint on canvasboards, Collection of the Artist detail: Imants Tillers 'Kangaroo Blank' 1988, oil, oilstick, synthetic polymer paint on canvasboards, Collection of the Artist

Andrew Andersons AO, joined PTW Architects in 1989 and is currently its Principal Director. Since then, he has developed his interest in the design of cultural institutions including art galleries, libraries and buildings for the performing arts. Andersons received the Royal Australian Institute of Architects’ President’s Award for his contribution to Australian architecture in 1988.

Cathy Craigie is a member of the Kamilaroi people from Moree and is Michael Riley’s maternal cousin. She has been involved in the Indigenous visual arts/cultural industry for two-and-a-half decades, working with community and government organisations. Craigie is a former Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Brenda L Croft is a member of the Gurindji and Mutpurra peoples from the Northern Territory. She is Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Croft has been involved in the Indigenous visual arts/cultural industry since the early 1980s. She was a founding member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative in 1987. With her colleague Hetti Perkins, Croft co-curated the Australian Indigenous Art Commission at the Musée du quai Branly, Paris, that opened in June.

Destiny Deacon is a Melbourne-based artist. She is a member of the Kuku/Erub/Mer peoples from far North Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands. Deacon collaborated with Michael Riley on films including I don’t wanna be a bludger for Australian Perspecta (1999).

Mary Eagle is a freelance curator and art historian, and author of many books and essays about art in Australia. Six years ago she retired from the position of Head of the Department of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia to research and write a history of art in Australia that formed the basis of her doctorate at the Australian National University (awarded 2005).

Julie Ewington is a writer, curator and broadcaster. She is currently Head of Australian Art at Queensland Art Gallery and is a specialist on contemporary art, with a particular interest in the art of South-East Asia. She has taught Art History at Australian universities and in 1999–2000 was a Visiting Fellow, Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Australian National University. Ewington is a member of the curatorial team for the 2006 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.

Alasdair Foster is the Director of the Australian Centre for Photography and Managing Editor of Photofile magazine.

John Harding is of the Kuku/Erub/Mer people of far North Queensland and the Torres Strait. With an extensive background in the arts and a focus on the performing arts, Harding’s experience has encompassed acting, comedy, dance, playwriting, cultural consulting and directing.

Deborah Hart is Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia, and the Curator of Imants Tillers: one world many visions. She has worked in the visual arts over more than two decades for state and regional galleries, and as a freelance curator. Hart has curated many exhibitions and written numerous books and catalogues on Australian art and artists.

Robert McFarlane is a photographer and writer, based in Sydney. McFarlane was a founding member of Rapport Photo Agency in Sydney. His artistic practice covers four decades and he is the photography critic for the Sydney Morning Herald.

detail: Michael Riley 'Darrell' 1989, gelatin silver photograph National Gallery of Australia, Canberra detail: Michael Riley 'Darrell' 1989, gelatin silver photograph National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. © Michael Riley, Licensed by The Michael Riley Foundation and VISCOPY, Australia.

Ian North is an artist and occasional writer. He is also Adjunct Professor of Visual Arts, University of South Australia, a visiting Research Fellow, University of Adelaide, and a former curator (including Foundation Curator of Photography at the NGA). He has written a series of essays considering the implications for Australian art of a globalising art world with reference to the political and aesthetic implications of the Indigenous art revolution and co-authored a book on Kathleen Petyarre with Christine Nicholls (Wakefield Press 2001).

Nikos Papastergiadis is a Reader and Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He has written extensively on art and cultural difference. His most recent books include Spatial aesthetics (Rivers Oram Press, 2006) and, as co-editor with Scott McQuire, Empires, ruins and networks (Melbourne University Press, 2005).

Hetti Perkins is a member of the Eastern Arrernte and Kalkadoon Aboriginal communities. She is the Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and co-curated the Australian Indigenous Art Commission at the Musée du quai Branly, Paris, which included Michael Riley’s work.

Avril Quaill is Principal Project Officer at the Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency in the Queensland Government Department of State Development, Trade and Innovation. Quaill has worked in senior curatorial roles at the Queensland Art Gallery (2002–04) and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (1995–2002). She is a founding member of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, Sydney.

Lisa Reihana is an artist and cultural producer. She has exhibited her multi-media work extensively, directed art documentaries and has written on Maori art and film-making.

Bernadette Yhi Riley is Michael Riley’s paternal cousin. She worked with Riley on Blacktracker (1996) and Yarns from the Talbragar Reserve (1998), and has been involved in numerous Indigenous community organisations. She lives in Dubbo.

Imants Tillers is one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists and has established a national and international reputation. In 1986 he was selected to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale. In 1988 Tillers had a survey exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London and in 2000 he had a major survey exhibition at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico. Imants Tillers: one world many visions recognises his considerable contribution to Australian art.

Nick Waterlow OAM has been the Director of the Ivan Dougherty Gallery since 1991. He was the director of the Biennale of Sydney in 1979, 1986 and 1988. Among the many other shows he has curated is the landmark exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Spirit + place: art in Australia 1861–1996. He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1990. Waterlow’s experience in the arts is all-encompassing, traversing both national and international art boards as well as numerous literary pursuits.


Program

detail: Imants Tillers 'Izkliede' 1994 detail: Imants Tillers 'Izkliede' 1994 oilstick, gouache, synthetic polymer paint on 292 canvasboards. Collection of Gene and Brian Sherman.

9.00 Welcome

Deborah Hart, Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture, and Brenda L Croft, Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, representative of the local traditional custodians, the Ngambri and Ngunnawal peoples.

9.20 The pre-history of Imants Tillers’ canvasboard system: a focus on the conceptual and systems-based work of the 1970s

Julie Ewington, writer, curator and broadcaster

9.40 Imants Tillers: a matter of brains and beauty

Ian North, Adjunct Professor of Visual Arts, University of South Australia

10.00 Latvian connections in the work of Imants Tillers

Andrew Andersons, PTW Architects

10.20 Morning tea

10.50 Some ways in which material form is content in the mature art of Imants Tillers

Mary Eagle, freelance curator and art historian

11.10 National and international connections

Nick Waterlow OAM, Director of the Ivan Dougherty Gallery, discusses Tillers’ work in Sydney Biennales.

11.35 Text and image: an interview with Imants Tillers about the relationship between text and image in his art over three decades

Deborah Hart, Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia, and curator of Imants Tillers: one world many visions Imants Tillers, artist

12.00 The water diary (2006), directed by Jane Campion

35 mm film, 18 min., LDM Productions, France

12.20 Lunch

1.35 Afternoon session welcome

Brenda L Croft, Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia, and curator of Michael Riley: sights unseen

detail: Michael Riley 'Moree kids, from the series A common place: Moree Murries' 1991, gelatin silver photograph Moree Plains Gallery Collection: Presented in 1990 by the artist © Michael Riley, Licensed by The Michael Riley Foundation and VISCOPY, Australia detail: Michael Riley 'Moree kids', from the series 'A common place: Moree Murries' 1991, gelatin silver photograph Moree Plains Gallery. Collection: Presented in 1990 by the artist© Michael Riley, Licensed by The Michael Riley Foundation and VISCOPY, Australia.

1.40 Snapshots: family and friends’ recollections of Michael Riley, Dubbo, Moree and Sydney

Bernadette Yhi Riley, researcher, writer
Cathy Craigie, consultant, arts administrator, author
Avril Quaill, Principle Project Officer, Queensland Indigenous Art and Marketing Export Agency

2.05 Historical overview of Michael Riley’s art practice and role of the Michael Riley Foundation

Hetti Perkins, Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, MRF Member
Robert McFarlane, photographer and writer
Alasdair Foster, Director, Australian Centre for Photography

2.40 Afternoon tea

3.05 Imagination: international, national perspectives on imagery and film-making

Nikos Papastergiardis, writer, art critic, lecturer

3.50 Looking Blak: international and national Indigenous perspectives on imagery and film-making

Lisa Reihana, film-maker and artist
John Harding, playwright, author, actor
Destiny Deacon, artist, film-maker, writer

4.50 Empire (1997), directed by Michael Riley. 35 mm film transferred to DVD, 18 min. © ABC TV Indigenous Production Unit

 


Michael Riley: sights unseen
Imants Tillers: one world many visions

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

 

Members/concession and students complementary tickets available
(cost includes all sessions, exhibition entry, morning and afternoon tea)

Bookings essential phone (Mon–Fri) 02 6240 6504 or eventbookings@nga.gov.au